NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — America is back on top in the race to claim ownership of the world’s most powerful supercomputer.
In a ranking released Monday of the world’s top 500 supercomputers, the United States scored the top spot with Sequoia, a supercomputer housed at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The U.S. had been trailing China and Japan in the supercomputer race since June 2010, when a Chinese system took over the No. 1 spot.
Scientists are using the world’s mightiest computer for nuclear weapons research.Sequoia boasts 1.57 million cores and a capability of 16.32 petaflops, meaning it can process 16.32 quadrillion calculations per second. The No. 2 system, Japan’s K computer, can handle a sustained 10.51 petaflops per second.
Sequoia was built by IBM for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which uses it to model weapons performance and to “extend the life of aging weapons systems,” according to Bob Meisner, NNSA’s advanced simulation and computing director.
The newly minted supercomputing champion was years in the making. Work on designing the machine began more than three years ago, said Dave Turek, IBM’s vice president of high-performance computing systems. NNSA’s scientists began using Sequoia about a month and a half ago.
Turek said he was pleased to see Sequoia grab top spot on the list, which serves as an unofficial guide to the supercomputing “space race” to develop some of the most advanced technology on the planet.